Richard B. Fennell

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After earning his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law, Rich Fennell clerked for one year with the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Since joining James, McElroy & Diehl, Rich’s practice has focused on complex commercial litigation, construction litigation and securities litigation. He has tried a large number of cases to verdict in a variety of areas, including criminal, personal injury, construction, unfair and deceptive trade practices, shareholder and partnership disputes, insurance and contract matters.

Rich’s verdicts include, for example, a $1.8 million judgment for his client in a minority shareholder freeze out case; a judgment for $105,000 in his client’s favor where the other side contended it was due approximately $900,000 in a bid-rigging and unfair and deceptive trade practices case; a $150,000 verdict in a lost profits case where the other side had offered only a nuisance settlement; a no liability verdict in a $400,000 unfair and deceptive trade practice claim; and a $750,000 arbitration award which was more than twice what had ever been offered to resolve the case. He has managed million and multimillion dollar claims involving business valuation and lost profits calculations which have resolved in confidential settlements. The hope is always to resolve matters short of trial when that is possible and makes good business sense. Rich is a believer, though, in the jury system and enjoys trying cases when that is necessary.

Academic Background

  • J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law, 1990
  • B.A., Political Science and Peace, War and Defense, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1986

Bar & Court Admissions

  • North Carolina State Bar
  • South Carolina State Bar


  • North Carolina Bar Association, Antitrust and Trade Regulation Section

Professional Recognition

  • Has argued before the North and South Carolina Courts of Appeal, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Named to the “North Carolina Super Lawyers” 2012-2024 editions – Business Litigation
  • Named to the “North Carolina Super Lawyers” 2022 edition – Construction Litigation
  • Named to the “North Carolina Super Lawyers” 2022 edition – Bankruptcy
  • Named to the “North Carolina Super Lawyers” 2022 edition – Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Named to the 2011-2016 and 2018-2023 editions of The Best Lawyers in America© by Best Lawyers® – Commercial Litigation
  • Named to the 2015-2024 editions of The Best Lawyers in America© by Best Lawyers® – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation – Bankruptcy, Litigation – Construction, Litigation – Labor and Employment, Litigation – Land Use and Zoning, and Litigation – Securities
  • Named Business North Carolina “Legal Elite” 2011 and 2014 editions – Antitrust
  • Best Lawyers 2015 Litigation – Construction “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Best Lawyers 2017 Litigation – Bankruptcy “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Best Lawyers 2023 Litigation – Land Use and Zoning  “Lawyer of the Year

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